Ruth Laila Schmidt at
Tue Jun 17 05:51:43 UTC 1997

Dear Colleagues,

_sindhu_ meant not only the River Indus, but "river" in general, and "sea".
It is retained in Shina as _sin_, "river" (from *_sind_, which has been
borrowed into Burushaski as _sende_). Checking in Turner's _Dictionary of
the Indo-Aryan Languages_, I can not find it with any other meanings except
	Indus river
	province of Sindh
Perhaps an Iranianist can elucidate.

With best wishes,

Ruth Schmidt

>>        The ancient Iranians presumably did not have the sound-changes of
>>historical philology in their heads. So when they heard of the river
>>called Sindhu, why did they call it _hindu_ and not, say, *_sindu_ (since
>>Avestan and other ancient Iranian languages do have initial s, cognate
>>with the Sanskrit palatal fricative)?
>>        Thieme, quoted in Mayrhofer's _Kurzgefasstes_, seems to be right
>>in taking _hindu_ as a common noun, not as a place-name, whether or not
>>he is right in interpreting it as 'the frontier'. It would then be
>>understandable that they should use their own word rather than a foreign
>>one of similar but different form.
>>        Or did the sound change s>h take place after the Iranians had
>>settled in Iran and come to know the Indus by the name _sindhu_?
>Wait a second, my understanding of (for example) Lars Martin's explanation
>was that Iranian hindu was cognate to Indian sindhu, not that it derived
>from it, although I can't go back an check.

Ruth Laila Schmidt
Dept of East European and Oriental Studies
University of Oslo
P.O. Box 1030 Blindern
N-0315 Oslo, Norway
Phone: (47) 22 85 55 86
Fax: (47) 22 85 41 40
Email: at

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